More problems have come knocking at the University of Colorado’s door. This time there are no strippers or recruits involved, but something much worse.
Former CU place-kicker Katie Hnida announced late Tuesday morning that during her time at CU in 1999 and 2000, she was groped and verbally harassed multiple times by her teammates and before the start of the 2000 season she was raped by another player.
Hnida, who went on to play for the University of New Mexico and is awaiting approval for a sixth year of eligibility, decided to come forward with the accusations now because she believes it is relevant to the current investigation. Her story appeared in Tuesday’s online Sports Illustrated and has sparked another controversy.
“I want to emphasize that a large number of my Colorado teammates during the fall of 1999 were good people. However there were a select few whose actions towards me changed my life forever,” Hnida said in a press release. “I have not had a single problem with any of my teammates at UNM. That is a credit to the kind of program that Coach (Rocky) Long is running at New Mexico.”
She said Gary Barnett was the coach during her “nightmare” at CU.
Just as Barnett says he knows nothing about the stripper recruiting scandal, he denies knowing about any sexual harassment involving Hnida. Even though her father, Dr. Dave Hnida, spoke with Barnett and CU athletic director Dick Tharp about the verbal abuse and groping, Sports Illustrated reported that Barnett said he did not recall anything about sexual harassment nor does he believe Hnida was sexually harassed.
Barnett released a statement saying he “will act swiftly and thoroughly.” Well, if he knew about it in 2000, it has only been four years; “swiftly” and “thoroughly” should be right about now.
He says he knows nothing, but I disagree. There is one thing he does know: Just like his predecessor Rick Neuheisel, Barnett knows how to get caught. If the allegations turn out to be true, either that CU uses strippers to entice players or if Barnett knew about the sexual harassment and just turned a deaf ear, he should be fired.
In response to the allegations, CU President Elizabeth Hoffman said at a press conference Tuesday that she is going to hire a “special assistant” to oversee the athletic department and report back to her. I am assuming that this person will attend parties and know everything that is going on with the football team. Yeah right, that is not going to change a thing.
It is fun to not like CU and to get deeply immersed in the rivalry we have with them, but I used to respect its programs. That has changed, at least as far as the football team and hierarchy goes.
Then I look at CSU’s program and my respect has grown. The leader of our football troops, Sonny Lubick, is one of the most decent men I have ever met and I truly believe he runs a program free from the problems plaguing CU.
Only time will tell if the allegations against Barnett and CU are true, but I can promise one thing. While CSU will play at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium for many years to come, CU will never play at Gary Barnett-Folsom Field.